PSCI 3440 - Assignments

  PSCI 3440

  RUSSIAN AND CENTRAL

  ASIAN POLITICS


DIPLOMATIC FORUM SIMULATION

AND WRITING ASSIGNMENTS


Overview


While the breakup of the Soviet Union was mostly peaceful, some violence erupted on the periphery

of the former Soviet space. Many of those conflicts are still unsettled today, earning them the title of

"frozen conflicts." Our diplomatic forum will give you a chance to role play and discuss (even argue)

over who is to blame and how to resolve them.



As a way of exploring the dynamics in the region, the class will participate in a diplomatic forum the

final three classes of the semester. Students will be divided into teams, each representing one of the

twelve actors. Your task it to learn your role and to specialize in one of your interlocutors (opponent or ally). For example, if you represent Moldova as a specialist on Transdniestria, you must know the latter's positions on the conflict as well as your own. (That is the only way you will be prepared to respond to claims made by the Transdniestrian representative.)

  • The Moldovan government.

Specialist on Transdniestria:

Specialist on the positions of Russia:

  • The Transdniestrian separatist government.

Specialist on Moldova:

Specialist on the positions of Russia:

  • The Georgian government.

Specialist on Abkhazia and South Ossetia:

Specialist on the positions of Russia:

  • The Abkhazian separatist government.

Specialist on Georgia:

Specialist on the positions of Russia:

  • The South Ossetian separatist government.

Specialist on Georgia:

Specialist on the positions of Russia:

  • The Azerbaijani government.

Specialist on Armenia:

Specialist on the positions of Russia:

  • The Armenian government.

Specialist on Azerbaijan:

Specialist on the positions of Russia:

  • The Ukrainian government.

Specialist on Eastern Ukraine:

Specialist on the positions of Russia:

  • The Eastern Ukraine separatists (specifically Luhansk and Donetsk).

Specialist on Ukraine:

Specialist on the positions of Russia:

  • The Russian government.

Specialist on the Armenian/Azerbaijani conflict:

Specialist on the Moldovan/Transdniestrian conflict:

Specialist on the Georgian/Abkhazian/South Ossetian conflict:

Specialist on the Ukrainian/Eastern Ukrainian conflict:


    Name

    Representing:

    Specializing in:


    Moldova

    Russia


    South Ossetia

    Georgia


    Eastern Ukraine

    Russia


    Russia

    Georgia/Abkhazia/South Ossetia


    Armenia

    Russia


    Armenia

    Azerbaijan


    Russia

    Ukraine/Eastern Ukraine


    Transdnistria

    Russia


    Georgia

    Russia


    Georgia

    Abkhazia and South Ossetia


    Ukraine

    Russia


    Azerbaijan

    Russia


    Russia

    Moldova/Transdnistria


    Ukraine

    Eastern Ukraine


    Russia

    Georgia/Abkhazia/South Ossetia


    Transdnistria

    Moldova


    South Ossetia

    Russia


    Abkhazia

    Russia


    Azerbaijan

    Armenia


    Abkhazia

    Georgia


    Moldova

    Transdnistria


    Eastern Ukraine

    Ukraine

    You will research your role by addressing several key questions that will prepare you for the forum.

    Your preparatory work will be formalized into two writing assignments.


    Questions that will be addressed at the forum (and which should guide your research):

    1. What are the grievances of your side? Who is to blame for the conflict to begin with and who is to blame for prolonging it?
    2. What is your position on negotiations that have already taken place (if any) to end the conflict (or at least the fighting)?
    3. What is your proposal for ending the conflict?
    4. What would compel you to launch a military action (or, perhaps in the case of the Russia, to supply one side with arms)?


    Source Material


    Google searching is not enough. Google's algorithm cannot be relied on to link to sources that are

    either reputable or useful. Go here for Guidance for Researching Your Role.


    Assignment #1: Annotated Bibliography. Due 11:59 pm on Friday, March 25.


    NOTE: you will not be permitted to participate in the forum if either assignment is not completed. 


    Your second assignment is to locate source material on your assigned role. There are two categories of source material: scholarly/professional and partisan/biased. Your specific assignment is to write an annotated bibliography of the sources you locate for your role.


    Part I: Scholarly and "Gray" Literature

    By "scholarly literature," I am referring to peer-reviewed journal articles about your assignment. You will find these by using the library databases that you were shown in class on Monday, February 25. The second is the so-called "gray literature" that is not peer-reviewed but comes from reputable foundations, think tanks, international organizations, and other NGOs. These are not necessarily neutral sources and may very well take a side on the conflict you are studying, but they are known for their adherence to the norms of research (i.e., backing up conclusions with evidence). 

    Find at least six scholarly (and gray literature) sources. NOTE: of these six, at least three must be peer-reviewed sources accessible through the library databases.


    Part II: Partisan and "Biased" Sources

    Although "partisan" and "biased" are not words that describe most of the assigned research you do in your classes, they are just what you need for your role-playing. You are "partisan" in that you represent one side in a conflict and are not free of bias. Thus, sources that represent a partisan viewpoint of the protagonist you represent will be valuable in shedding your American (or other) skin and adopting that of your persona. Such sources can be from government sites, local newspapers, and local news agencies. For example, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transdniestria (Transdnistria), and Donetsk (eastern Ukraine) all have their own information agencies in English. So do the governments of the region, the EU and the US. In addition, look for speeches by leading political figures on the conflicts: what are they saying to their followers and to the world?

    Find at least six partisan sources. Four should represent your assigned role and two should represent your assigned opponent or ally (i.e., specialization).


    Annotations

    Each annotation should be 100-150 words. Address the following (if they are appropriate) along with anything else you deem important. DON'T COPY AND PASTE TEXT (that's called plagiarism!).

      1. What is (are) the main point(s) of the source?
      2. For the directly involved protagonists in each frozen conflict: how does it help you understand the grievances you have?
      3. For Russia, what does it tell you about your positions?
      4. What progress has been made in negotiations to resolve the conflict?
      5. What hope is there for avoiding warfare and finding a lasting resolution?


    Format

    Heading in upper right corner: name and date only. No title page.

    Section I: Scholarly Sources

    First source:

    Full citation in proper style (using Knightcite; see below).

    Annotation paragraph.

    Second source:

    Full citation in proper style.

    Annotation paragraph.

    And so on...


    Section II: Partisan Sources

    First source:

    Full citation in proper style.

    Annotation paragraph.

    Second source:

    Full citation in proper style.

    Annotation paragraph.

    Lather, rinse, repeat...


    The citations should be in proper format. You can use Chicago, MLA or APA. But note: BE CONSISTENT, and DO NOT make up your own style. You are required to use Knightcite; simply enter the information from the article and it will do the formatting for you

    .

    See below for instructions for all writing assignments.


    Assignment #2: Position Papers. Due 11:59 pm on Saturday, April 9.


    NOTE: you will not be permitted to participate in the forum if either assignment is not completed.


    You will write position papers on four questions in preparation for the diplomatic forum.


    Assignments are collective and vary slightly depending on the delegation. NOTE: it is likely

    that your research for paper #1 will not be sufficient to fully address these questions.

    Group A: Moldova, Transdniestria, Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine,

    Eastern Ukraine.

    Group B: Russia.


    Group A: Focus on your principal antagonist (e.g., Armenia vs Azerbaijan) and on Russia.

    Questions:

    1. What are the grievances of your side (i.e., the roots of the conflict)? Who started it and who is to blame for prolonging it? 150-200 words.
    2. What is your position on negotiations that have already taken place (if any) to end the conflict (or at least the fighting)? 100-150 words.
    3. What is your proposal for ending the conflict? 100-150 words.
    4. What would compel you to launch a military action (or, perhaps in the case of the Russia, to supply one side with arms)? 100-150 words.


    Each role is a two-person team. Upload your paper together under the filename "entity-paper-one.docx" (or pdf) where "entity" is your assigned role (e.g., Transdniestria or Georgia). Total length should not be less than 900 words. A bibliography is not necessary.


    Group B (Russia)

    Start with the side of each conflict that you do NOT support or are less sympathetic to. Then move to the other side.

    1. What are the roots of the conflict? Who started it and who is to blame for prolonging it? 100-150 words on each of the four conflicts.
    2. What is your position on negotiations that have already taken place (if any) to end the conflict (or at least the fighting)? 100-150 words on each conflict.
    3. What is your proposal for ending each conflict? 100 words (minimum) on each conflict.
    4. What would compel you to launch a military action or to supply one side with arms? 100 words (minimum) on each conflict.

    The Russian group is four students. Submit your paper together under the filename "russia-paper-two.docx" (or pdf). Total length should 1600-2000 words. A bibliography is not necessary.


    Additional pointers and guidelines as you write your position papers and prepare for the forum:

    1. Your goal is to represent your role as it actually is today. Your goal is not to extrapolate (what would I do if I were Georgian?), negotiate (if you have experience with, say, Model UN, that is not what this is), or imagine (we are not John Lennon). Stick with what you learned during your research. You and your team will not solve your frozen conflict. There is no prize for "best delegation".
    2. It's ok to have devices during the forum. Use them to keep notes handy or look something up on the fly as the discussion is underway.
    3. Grading will be based on the accuracy of your representation of your role and both the quality and quantity of your contributions. Everyone should participate each day. Do NOT designate one of you as spokesperson for the team.
    4. Your grade for the forum in a team grade. If your partner is not contributing much, work with them quietly to suggest how to ramp up their participation.
    5. During the forum, it's ok to engage in sidebar conversations as long as they are quiet and short. For example, theoretically the Abkhazians and South Ossetians might want to converse on a point made by the Georgians. That's perfectly ok.
    6. Your position papers are necessarily short. This is an exercise in succinct writing. It doesn't mean that during the forum you are confined to what you have written. Have as much information handing during the forum as you can. The position papers are designed to 1) organize your thinking, 2) make sure you are coordinating with your partner(s), and 3) demonstrate to me that you've done your prep.

    Let me know if you have any questions. Remember: ATTENDANCE FOR MONDAY, APRIL 11 AND ALL THREE DAYS OF THE FORUM IS MANDATORY.


    Conduct of the Forum


    Download pdf for details about the conduct of the forum and guidelines for good performance.


    Instructions For All Writing Assignments


    Submitting assignments

    You are required to submit your assignments in the elearning dropbox. I won't accept hard copies. Your papers must be in Microsoft Word or pdf format. (If you use Open Office, use this site to convert to docx format.)


    Explicit instructions

    • There are minimum lengths (or in the case of the annotated bibliography, minimum numbers of sources and words). Short papers will be penalized severely.
    • Text should be double-spaced with no skipped lines between paragraphs.
    • There should be no spelling mistakes, typos, grammar mistakes, or syntax problems.
    • Verbs should agree with subjects. Sentences should officially end before the next one begins. Don't jump around among tenses. Never use "you." Don't capitalize nouns unless they're supposed to be capitalized. Keep straight the difference between its and it's, and between their, there and they're. And never, ever use apostrophes for plural nouns.
    • Spell-check will not catch all your spelling mistakes. There is no substitution for careful proofreading.
    • Avoid both fluff and excessive verbiage. Don't wander off into tangents. Be concise, but sufficiently detailed to make your argument.
    • I doubt if I need to say this to any of you, but it needs to be on the record: don't play games with margin width and font size to make your paper longer. Margins should be no greater than 1" on the sides and 1" at the top and bottom. Font size should not exceed the equivalent of 11 point Times New Roman or Calibri. Don't skip lines between paragraphs either.
    • Adhere to the deadline. Late penalties are draconian and could result in your premature death or dismemberment. (Actually, I'm serious. See late penalty policy on the syllabus page).
    • One third of your grade will be on writing quality and on whether you followed these instructions. If you write a brilliant paper, but one that's sloppy and ill-written, and does not correspond to the parameters written here, you can get a D.


    Grading Scale: see the course policies page.